Republican Win in Massachusetts Imperils Healthcare Bill

Republican Scott Brown has won the Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for almost 47 years. Many analysts expect that this will effectively kill the Obama healthcare initiative. The Democrats no longer have a "super majority" in the Senate, leaving the Republicans free to filibuster any legislation.Many media reporters view the election results (Brown got 52% of the vote) as a backlash against both the potential financial burden of the healthcare plan and Obama's inability to solve the unemployment problem. Both may be true, but if one independent or Republican Senator votes with the Democrats, the healthcare bill would be back on track.

The New York Times recently pointed out that Republican Senator from Maine Olympia Snowe voted with the Democrats on a key part of the healthcare plan, and she has indicated that she may do that again if certain changes are made to the bill. The Administration is certain to be willing to do some horse trading to get her support.

Senate Democrat Ben Nelson voted for the healthcare reform package. He initially opposed it, but made a deal that exempted his state from from the costs of Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. Some observers saw this as a sort of "bribe". That may be a strong word, but he certainly got his way.

The dealings, behind doors and in public, over the healthcare reform package is not over. Some senators will be given attractive incentives to vote with the majority. The Massachusetts election results may seem like a big blow to healthcare reform now, but a lot can change in a month.
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